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History of Men, The

Essays on the History of American and British Masculinities

Michael S. Kimmel

Publication Year: 2005

In this collection, one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of masculinity studies explores the historical construction of American and British masculinities. Tracing the emergence of American and British masculinities, the forms they have taken, and their development over time, Michael S. Kimmel analyzes the various ways that the ideology of masculinity—the cultural meaning of manhood—has been shaped by the course of historical events, and, in turn, how ideas about masculinity have also served to shape those historical events. He also considers newly emerging voices of previously marginalized groups such as women, the working class, people of color, gay men, and lesbians to explore the marginalized and de-centered notions of masculinity and the political processes and dynamics that have enabled this marginalization to occur.

Published by: State University of New York Press

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pp. ix-xii

The title of this collection, The History of Men, is intended to be somewhat ironic. The essays contained here hardly constitute a full-scale history of American and British men. Indeed, much of my historical work has been to join with others in beginning such a project, to begin to see historical developments involving men through a gender lens—much the way feminist ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

That this book is being published by the State University of New York Press, the press at my “home” institution for the last 15 years, makes me very happy. I am grateful to all my colleagues and students at Stony Brook, as well as my various editors at the State University of New York Press, including Ron Helfrich and Jane Bunker. ...


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1. Invisible Masculinity

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pp. 3-16

American men have no history. Sure, we have stacks of biographies of the heroic and famous, and historical accounts of events in which men took part, like wars, strikes, or political campaigns. And we have group portraits of athletes, soldiers, and the men who run unions and political parties. There are probably thousands of histories of institutions that were ...

American Masculinities

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2. Born to Run: Fantasies of Male Escape from Rip Van Winkle to Robert Bly

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pp. 19-36

In the last lines of the novel that bears his name, Huckleberry Finn anxiously plans his escape. “I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and civilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” Since the early 19th century, the quest for manhood has revolved around a flight from women, a relentless ...

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3. Consuming Manhood: The Feminization of American Culture and the Recreation of the Male Body, 1832–1920

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pp. 37-60

It’s a psychoanalytic commonplace that what we lose in reality we recreate in fantasy. Those objects, relationships, and experiences that give life meaning, that make us feel full, satisfied, secure, are snatched from us, leaving us insecure, frightened, and desperate. Part of our normal, garden-variety neurosis is the creation of a stockpile of symbols that remind us of those lost ...

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4. Baseball and the Reconstitution of American Masculinity, 1880–1920

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pp. 61-72

Baseball is sport as American pastoral: More, perhaps, than any other sport, baseball evokes that nostalgic longing, those warm recollections of boyhood innocence, the balmy warmth of country air, the continuity of generations. More than this, baseball is a metaphor for America, “the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive and push and rush and ...

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5. Men’s Responses to Feminism at the Turn of the Century

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pp. 73-90

The rise of feminism in the late 19th- and early 20th-century United States provoked a variety of responses among American men and prompted what we might call a crisis of masculinity, because the meanings that had constituted traditional gender definitions were challenged. Men’s responses included a frightened retreat to traditional configurations, the demarcation...

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6. The Cult of Masculinity: American Social Character and the Legacy of the Cowboy

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pp. 91-104

Is there a distinctive “American social character,”1 a unique combination of attitudes, aspirations, and activities that sets the American apart from other nationalities? Is the American a type that can be instantly recognized and categorized? Traditionally, analysts of the American personality have given three sorts of answers in their attempts to define the American social ...

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7. From “Conscience and Common Sense” to “Feminism for Men: ”Pro-Feminist Men’s Rhetoric of Support for Women’s Equality

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pp. 105-122

Since the late 18th century, American men have supported women’s equality (see Kimmel & Mosmiller, 1992).1 Even before the first Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York, heralded the birth of the organized women’s movement in 1848, American men had begun to argue in favor of women’s rights. That celebrated radical, Thomas Paine, for ...

British Masculinities

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8. From Lord and Master to Cuckold and Fop: Masculinity in 17th-Century England

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pp. 125-142

That many men are today “confused” about what it means to be a “real man”—that masculinity is in “crisis”—has become a cultural commonplace, staring out at us from every magazine rack and television talk show in the country. American men are increasingly cast as bumping up against the limits of traditional concepts of masculinity, attempting to push ...

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9. “Greedy Kisses” and “Melting Extasy: ”Notes on the Homosexual World of Early 18th-Century England as Found in Love Letters Between a certain late Nobleman and the famous Mr. Wilson

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pp. 191-196

The twenty letters and the appended commentary contained in Love Letters Between a certain late Nobleman and the famous Mr. Wilson ... chronicle the course of a fictional homosexual relationship in early18th-century England. Though the document is an epistolary novel, it can provide a rare glimpse into some fascinating clues about the organization and ...

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LOVE LETTERS Between certain late NOBLEMAN And the famous MR. WILSON

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pp. 197-230

DISCOVERING The True History of the Rise and surprising Grandeur of that celebrated BEAU Printed for A. Moore, near St. Paul London, 1745(originally published, 1723)


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pp. 231-240


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pp. 241-252


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pp. 253-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780791483824
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791463390
Print-ISBN-10: 0791463397

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Men -- United States.
  • Men -- Great Britain.
  • Masculinity -- United States.
  • Masculinity -- Great Britain.
  • Sex role -- United States.
  • Sex role -- United States.
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